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University Subjects At Middle School

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This one has really got me thinking:
https://edsource.org/2016/college-classes-for-middle-school-students-its-happening-in-hayward/93885

Maybe we are setting standards far too low for students even under (US) high school age?

I know there are programs in the US where you can graduate HS with an associate degree - perhaps we could have ones where they graduate with a full degree? I certainly think education may need a rethink.

One possibility could be you graduate HS with a 3 year degree and follow the Bologna Model:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne_Model

Thanks
Bill
 

Vanadium 50

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Maybe we are setting standards far too low for students even under (US) high school age?
I don't know why you conclude that having middle school students taking college courses is setting the standards too low for them. I might argue that what this is telling us is that the decline of standards in college has finally reached the point where colleges are teaching at the middle-school level.
 
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I don't know why you conclude that having middle school students taking college courses is setting the standards too low for them. I might argue that what this is telling us is that the decline of standards in college has finally reached the point where colleges are teaching at the middle-school level.
Dah o0)o0)o0)o0)o0)o0)o0).

Why didn't I think of that - of course its much more likely the standard at some colleges are slipping rather than middle school students are smarter than we think.

Just as an aside if you want to go to university early in Australia here is how to do it. Grade skipping is the usual suggested method, but there are other ways. For example don't do the standard curriculum, but switch to the IGCSE eg:
http://www.erindalec.act.edu.au/academies/cambridge_international_school

Completion of that will allow you entrance into many universities tertiary preparation programs eg Monash University Diploma (roughly equivalent to a US Associate Degree):
https://www.monashcollege.edu.au/courses/diplomas/science

But I have to say this is one area Australia does not do well - allowing good students to commence college/university education early. In the US you have schools like Simon's Rock specifically for such people - nothing like that in Australia.

Thanks
Bill
 

Dr Transport

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I don't understand how a middle school-er is emotionally or mentally capable of taking college based credits. Frankly I am against AP credits for anyone other than high school seniors and limiting that to a minimum, these kids today don't want to be kids but want to be an adult at 14.

I'm hearing a trend that universities are starting to push back against the college board and not accept AP credits, they are losing money since these kids are coming in and taking minimal credits and getting the degree.
 

Vanadium 50

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I looked at that college's course catalog. They give 3 hours of college credit for "Basic Mathematics", which is a prerequisite for something called "Pre-Algebra": Fundamental concepts in arithmetic, including fractions, decimals, ratios,proportions, percents; order of operations, measurement, and geometric formulas. 3 hours lecture, 1 hour laboratory.

That does not seem unreasonable to me for middle school. Basic Mathematics in middle school, pre-algebra in junior high and then in high school they start with algebra.

To get to Calculus 1, you would take Math 103(3 units), 104(4), 65A (3), 65B (6), 55A (3), 55 (5), 36 (3) and 20 (5). That's 22 hours of college credit before you even get to Calculus 1. Seven of these would be before Algebra 1.
 
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Frankly I am against AP credits for anyone other than high school seniors and limiting that to a minimum, these kids today don't want to be kids but want to be an adult at 14.
What would your view of the IB program be? Many schools give you automatic 2nd year status for completing it.

Thanks
Bill
 

symbolipoint

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I looked at that college's course catalog. They give 3 hours of college credit for "Basic Mathematics", which is a prerequisite for something called "Pre-Algebra": Fundamental concepts in arithmetic, including fractions, decimals, ratios,proportions, percents; order of operations, measurement, and geometric formulas. 3 hours lecture, 1 hour laboratory.

That does not seem unreasonable to me for middle school. Basic Mathematics in middle school, pre-algebra in junior high and then in high school they start with algebra.

To get to Calculus 1, you would take Math 103(3 units), 104(4), 65A (3), 65B (6), 55A (3), 55 (5), 36 (3) and 20 (5). That's 22 hours of college credit before you even get to Calculus 1. Seven of these would be before Algebra 1.
Bingo! More or less.
Is community college the usual place for remedial courses, or is this now changed?
 

Dr Transport

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What would your view of the IB program be? Many schools give you automatic 2nd year status for completing it.

Thanks
Bill
I don't know what an IB program is, so I cannot say.

I know where my kids went to school, the counselors were pushing the kids to take AP classes so that the administration could claim a larger percentage of students were advanced whether or not the kid actually could handle the class or needed it.
 
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I don't know what an IB program is, so I cannot say.
It's the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program accepted by pretty much any university in the world as meeting admission requirements:
https://www.ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme/

It has two types of subjects - SL (Standard level) and HL (Higher Level). Exactly what credit you get depends on the policies of the school - in the US the following is typical:
https://www.smcvt.edu/admissions/ib-students.aspx

Harvard is really tough to get credit but you still can, if you do really well, get advanced standing reducing your degree to 3 years, or 4 years but you get a Masters as well:
https://fdo.fas.harvard.edu/ap-ib-exams

I think this was what happened to Bill Gates, but using AP not IB.

Here in Australia we consider our grade 11 and 12 subjects, of which you usually do 6, equivalent to 6 lower level university subjects so our degrees are 3 years. You can mostly only get credit for HL subjects (although there are exceptions) and many places also give credit for the Theory Of Knowledge so you can get up to 4 credits - but I have heard of 5.

Thanks
Bill
 
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Vanadium 50

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Is community college the usual place for remedial courses, or is this now changed?
They would probably say "lifelong learning" rather than "remedial", but yes, if you are an adult and want to learn about fractions, that's where you would go. A nearby community college offers an even lower class "arithmetic of whole numbers", but it's not for college credit. I think college credit starts around trig.
 

TeethWhitener

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What would your view of the IB program be? Many schools give you automatic 2nd year status for completing it.

Thanks
Bill
I graduated high school from an IB program. My experience was great, but the program is definitely geared toward folks who want to get a jump on college level work. I ended up doing my undergrad work at a fairly prestigious state school (what is frequently referred to as a "public ivy"), and I probably got a year or so worth of credits (chem, bio, math, English, history, and one or two others I'm probably forgetting). I still ended up taking 4 years to get my undergrad, but the IB credits gave me the opportunity to fill my junior and senior years in college with grad level courses so that I was well-prepared for grad school.

EDIT: Where I went to school, they only gave college credit for higher level IB exams. IB exams are scored out of 7, and I think you had to get a 5 or higher to get credit. As for how many credits it was possible to accumulate, I got away with taking 5 higher level exams, but two were required by my high school to be English and history. However, the IB classes prepared you pretty well for AP exams too, and--fun fact--you don't have to take AP classes to take the exam, or at least you didn't when I was a kid. So I was able to pick up a few credits from AP exams, too.
 

symbolipoint

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They would probably say "lifelong learning" rather than "remedial", but yes, if you are an adult and want to learn about fractions, that's where you would go. A nearby community college offers an even lower class "arithmetic of whole numbers", but it's not for college credit. I think college credit starts around trig.
About like that. Remedial Mathematics from community college (or even if offered at a university) would be Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, Pre-Algebra, Basic Math/Arithmetic. The college-level ones start at Pre-Calculus, College Algebra, Trigonometry, Basic Statistics.
 

Dr. Courtney

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Not a fan of too much early college, because it tends to get dumbed down.

Accrual of credit can be wise and prudent, but only if it is truly college work, which is different from giving college credit for high school or middle school work. Is it real, or a shell game? Gotta have a close look under the hood.
 

Dr Transport

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My biggest complaint with the AP system is that, they claim that the coursework is equivalent. My beef is that high school teachers without a degree in the area, let alone a graduate degree in the area are teaching college level courses that they couldn't get a part-time position at a community college teaching because they do not have the proper credentials. Universities are now dropping their acceptance of AP credit because they are finding out that the students are not prepared even though they have supposedly learned and tested on the material.
 

jasonRF

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Frankly I am against AP credits for anyone other than high school seniors and limiting that to a minimum, these kids today don't want to be kids but want to be an adult at 14.
My experience with my two highschool kids and their friends is that most of them do not want to take APs as much as they feel like they have little choice, at least if they want to go to an even modestly selective college. If all of the better students in your school take a handful of them, you will just not be a very competetive applicant unless you take a few, too.

My senior isn't even planning on taking credit for most of hers when she starts college next year. She thinks she doesn't understand calc as well as her previous math classes, so wants to take it again to really learn it. Likewise for physics. Her English APs won't count against her writing requirement, anyway, since the college she will attend doesn't allow it. She could try to get credit for literature, but wants to take a real college literature class, anyway. It is all good.

Jason
 

Dr Transport

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My experience with my two highschool kids and their friends is that most of them do not want to take APs as much as they feel like they have little choice, at least if they want to go to an even modestly selective college. If all of the better students in your school take a handful of them, you will just not be a very competetive applicant unless you take a few, too.

My senior isn't even planning on taking credit for most of hers when she starts college next year. She thinks she doesn't understand calc as well as her previous math classes, so wants to take it again to really learn it. Likewise for physics. Her English APs won't count against her writing requirement, anyway, since the college she will attend doesn't allow it. She could try to get credit for literature, but wants to take a real college literature class, anyway. It is all good.

Jason

Maybe the kids I interacted with were extreme overachievers, but these kids were he**bent on taking more and more AP courses, one actually had the audacity to tell me when he was a freshman that prestige of the school didn't matter, if they didn't give him a full ride, room, board and books he wouldn't consider it, he was too smart and valuable to pay for college.
 

Dr. Courtney

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AP is a mixed bag. But two of my favorite adjuncts when I was the coordinator of the algebra-based physics course at a local college got their main experience teaching AP Physics. They were great and better than the slew of PhDs at the college who were gifting grades in their physics and chemistry courses. They were also better than the slew of PhDs at my next stop (a state university) who not only gifted grades, but threatened junior faculty with loss of their jobs if they didn't gift grades also. It's not enough to know the stuff if you pass students without the required knowledge.

So, just like AP, other approaches to early college credit are no better than the teachers. The college system in Georgia has impressed me as better than most. Since the state enforces common course numbering and transfer credit among state schools, they've also given the better schools (UGA and Ga Tech) some power in enforcing course quality. Since Ga Tech has to accept transfer credit for any common numbered course (say, first semester calculus or calc-based physics), they keep pressure on the smaller schools not to give it away. (Not to say grade gifting never happens, just that it is much less common than other states like Ohio, North Carolina, and Louisiana.)

Many systems have very little quality control relating to academic rigor, and all the system pressures are to lower standards: student evaluations, computation of "success rates", etc. I wish I could have written reviews for loser math faculty who passed students who ended up in my algebra-based physics courses, or for 1st semester physics instructors who passed students who ended up in my 2nd semester course.

I think we all know colleagues who are gifting grades. If we remain silent, we are part of the problem.
 

TeethWhitener

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So, just like AP, other approaches to early college credit are no better than the teachers.
I find this quote a little odd. Maybe things have changed, but in my (and many of my classmates') experience from high school, whether you received college credit was based on your performance on exams (either AP, IB, or the placement exams given by the university itself). Simply enrolling in the class in high school was not enough to get college credit. You could certainly fault the AP/IB exams themselves for not adequately testing preparation for higher-level college courses, but I don't think you can fault the teachers' gifting grades to students: they either prepared you for the standardized tests or they didn't. If they gifted you an A in AP Calc, it meant nothing to the college if you got a 2 out of 5 on the exam. (Edit: it might help you gain admittance to the college, but it wouldn't help you with receiving credit for coursework taken while in high school.)
 

Dr Transport

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I find this quote a little odd. Maybe things have changed, but in my (and many of my classmates') experience from high school, whether you received college credit was based on your performance on exams (either AP, IB, or the placement exams given by the university itself). Simply enrolling in the class in high school was not enough to get college credit. You could certainly fault the AP/IB exams themselves for not adequately testing preparation for higher-level college courses, but I don't think you can fault the teachers' gifting grades to students: they either prepared you for the standardized tests or they didn't. If they gifted you an A in AP Calc, it meant nothing to the college if you got a 2 out of 5 on the exam. (Edit: it might help you gain admittance to the college, but it wouldn't help you with receiving credit for coursework taken while in high school.)
That is true, you need to get the appropriate score to get credit, but I've seen kids who get a C in the high school course and hire a tutor to get them thru the test. They've never really learned the material but somehow passed the AP exam for credit.
 

Dr. Courtney

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You could certainly fault the AP/IB exams themselves for not adequately testing preparation for higher-level college courses, but I don't think you can fault the teachers' gifting grades to students: they either prepared you for the standardized tests or they didn't.
Both are at fault, because either a failing AP course grade or a poor AP test score would effectively inform the college that something is amiss and not to grant the college course credit. AP test scores have been recognized as not indicating mastery in math and science courses for some time now. Too many AP courses are focused too strongly on the test and do not impart a general mastery of the material, regardless of how a student performs on the AP test.
 
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My observations. I’m semi-retired but I teach part time at our community college which is very well respected. We are also just a couple miles from a top 20 university, one of the top public universities in the US. I teach calculus, ODEs and linear algebra. We have a high school on campus and all HS grads are required to complete at least a one year certificate but most complete an associates degree along with their HS diploma. Math has two distinct faculty, those who teach developmental math (many are secondary certified) and those who teach college level transfer courses. There is no overlap. We also are in a county which has several school districts which are supposedly among the best in the US.

All of my classes are generally a mix of HS students, CC students, and university students who will transfer the credit. The classes are very rigorous, in fact much more so than those I taught at another public university where I was admonished for “making it too hard” and not giving higher grades. The students I have now are tremendously more well prepared than those I used to teach.

The HS students are generally brilliant. The university students come here so they can be in a class of 30 taught by a professor who knows their names and is available to them. I have tried to tutor students taking calculus at the university and the curriculum generally sucks, partly because they enroll as many as 2000 students in any calc class in a semester (that’s a problem at most large schools). Most of the CC students are just as smart as the rest, they’ve chosen two years at the CC primarily for financial reasons. Most of them transfer to very well respected programs.

My classes are rigorous (with an applied leaning because 90% of the students want to be engineers or physical scientists). They leave with an understanding of why everything is as it is, what it means physically, and how to apply it. If we can’t prove it we don’t do it, and we spend a significant time learning what it means. If they understand the proofs they understand what it means. Students who complete calc here will actually thank me later because they are ahead of the game when they transfer.

With that said, I would never try to teach this material to 12 year olds. They have neither the background nor the sophistication to be successful. I’m sure there’s 1 in 1000 geniuses who could do it but they are rare. I imagine the same is true no matter what subject is being taught. I imagine you could teach English comp to a middle schooler and you might get very good middle school papers but not university quality.

I’m not very familiar with IB but it doesn’t appear to me they actually teach the details. I have a lot of experience with AP calc and my assessment is that it sucks. I will get students in calc 2 who received AP credit for calc 1 and they are generally clueless. I have tried to tutor children of friends who were taking AP calc and I’ve given up. Here’s a sheet of derivatives, memorize them. Not a single notion of where they came from or what they mean, just reproduce this solution when you see this question on the exam. The format for one course was watch a video of the teacher solving problems, then come to class and try to reproduce what they watched while the teacher walked around the room. Supposedly this is some revolutionary teaching method, the students learned nothing about calculus. Both of my kids took AP calc and physics and I spent hours at school complaining because the teachers weren’t qualified to teach a college level subject and really didn’t understand what they were teaching. My daughter failed a physics quiz because she correctly expressed her solutions in ergs and the teacher didn’t know what an erg is. I think schools should focus on teaching the material they are supposed to teach in a coherent manner.
 

vela

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Maybe we are setting standards far too low for students even under (US) high school age?
The program described in the article isn't for the average student, and it doesn't offer any old college course. Students are selected based on their ability. The courses offered at only those that students should be able to handle (no "calculus or chemistry"), and the instruction method is adapted for middle schoolers. The students aren't being thrown into a regular college course and expected to figure it out on their own. It doesn't surprise me that some children that young can handle the challenge. Would this work for most students that age? I doubt it.
 

gleem

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I get the impression that just because they say the content ( as stated in a syllabus) is the same as a university course that they think the course is an equivalent.
 
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The university students come here so they can be in a class of 30 taught by a professor who knows their names and is available to them. I have tried to tutor students taking calculus at the university and the curriculum generally sucks, partly because they enroll as many as 2000 students in any calc class in a semester (that’s a problem at most large schools). Most of the CC students are just as smart as the rest, they’ve chosen two years at the CC primarily for financial reasons. Most of them transfer to very well respected programs.
These large classes are a huge problem here in Australia. When I did it nobody did math degrees, double degrees in math and something else like physics or engineering are now popular - but not back then. We had on average about 10 people in the class - in the senior years often 5 or less - I did one class, methods of mathematical economics, where I was the only student. The lecturer was going to cancel it but when he saw it was me who he knew well (he took me for Introductory Analysis, Analysis A, and B - although for timetabling reasons let me self study Analysis A and admitted me direct to Analysis B) let it go ahead and I just saw him once a week for an hour or so and we studied what interested both of us. Learnt a LOT in that subject.

I used to post a lot on Yahoo Answers and suggested a CC for some subjects to get the smaller classes - but for some reason they thought there was stigma associated with it - never understood why.

With that said, I would never try to teach this material to 12 year olds. They have neither the background nor the sophistication to be successful. I’m sure there’s 1 in 1000 geniuses who could do it but they are rare. I imagine the same is true no matter what subject is being taught. I imagine you could teach English comp to a middle schooler and you might get very good middle school papers but not university quality.
I think it has become obvious in this thread these are not real CC college courses - but rather like a honors middle school course that will prepare students better for later HS courses.

I’m not very familiar with IB but it doesn’t appear to me they actually teach the details. I have a lot of experience with AP calc and my assessment is that it sucks.
I think from what I have read you are correct. Here in Australia you generally do basic calculus at HS and move onto Multivariable Calc, Linear Algebra and Differential Equations first year University. When I did it, it was a bit different. You did what was called Calculus A which was basically a review of HS calculus plus a bit more such as an introduction to Multivariable Calculus. Then you did calculus B which was really introductory analysis - similar to the following modern textbook (we used Spivak which I think is still in print but I thought a bit dated even way back then):
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0691125333/?tag=pfamazon01-20

That was when I really understood calculus. That said I would never teach analysis before the hand-wavy treatments. Still students hated it so they got rid of it and you went onto Multivariable Calculus etc.

The beauty of the IB program is its a known quantity worldwide - just about every school in the world accepts it as meeting admission requirements. From when I posted in the Yahoo Answers people would ask about where to send SAT scores etc for admission to Australian universities. We do not have a system like that here - its based on whats called an ATAR and you have conversion tables between different countries systems - for the US its usually something like this:
https://study.uwa.edu.au/how-to-apply/entry-requirements/international-and-overseas-qualifications/us-college-board-ap-examinations

That said most universities will consider any applicant and make use of SAT's etc if supplied. The big advantage of IB is its taught here exactly the same as anywhere else so you follow normal admission channels.

Thanks
Bill
 
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TeethWhitener

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Both are at fault, because either a failing AP course grade or a poor AP test score would effectively inform the college that something is amiss and not to grant the college course credit. AP test scores have been recognized as not indicating mastery in math and science courses for some time now. Too many AP courses are focused too strongly on the test and do not impart a general mastery of the material, regardless of how a student performs on the AP test.
How would you determine whether a student had attained a general mastery of the material, if not from course grades and exams? Is it simply the AP test that is unable to determine general mastery, or is it all tests?

Side note: I would be interested in seeing data on the performance of college students who placed into a class based on passing prerequisite classes at their school vs. transfer credits from other schools including high school.
 

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